November 27, 1978 12:00 PM

In his prophetic novel 1984, the late British political polemicist George Orwell predicted that a new language, Newspeak (“the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year”), would replace English “with all its vagueness and useless shades of meaning.” Already flourishing in Hollywood is Filmspeak, with its handy subdivision, Splitspeak. Thus composer David Shire, 41, and his actress wife of eight years, Talia, 33 (who won an Oscar nomination for her supporting role in big brother Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather II), were able to discuss their marital separation:

David: It’s a very positive and loving separation. We have a 3-year-old child, Matthew Orlando, whom we both love, and I eat dinner with them four or five times a week. It is our marriage that was not working, not our careers. We’ve both been busy.

(He is working on a TV special, a Broadway musical and has completed three movie scores. She is shooting Rocky II, her third film this year.)

Talia: Our marriage was into the clinging stage. Now we are into distancing. We’re going to rotate the house and we even rotate the cars. We’ve been separated for four months, and it’s a growing experience.

David: We’re seeing other people…

Talia: …but not a lot. I don’t have a lot of time to invest in relationships. We knew that would be part of the separation. And it’s okay, but seeing other people…

David: …was not the purpose of the separation, but a by-product of it.

Talia: Maybe this is the new age in marriage. We needed a breather. At first when we separated I started to get angry at David, and then we both started to laugh at each other. We realized that the ground rule for the separation was respect. We need to think and grow. If it doesn’t work out, I’m still going to be Talia Shire; I’m not going back to being Coppola.

David: And I’ll still be David Shire.

Talia: I want David to score all my movies, ’cause he’s the best.

David: And I want her to star in my movies, ’cause she’s the best.

A final question: Is Henry Winkler “the other man”?

Talia: God, no!

You May Like